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This article was published on December 1, 2020

Black Friday sucks, but gift guides are great

Amongst the darkness, we can find the seeds of light

Black Friday sucks, but gift guides are great
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

This is adapted from Plugged In, TNW’s bi-weekly newsletter on gear and gadgets. Subscribe to it (and our other great newsletters) here.

Plugged In is hot, sticky, and covered in paper. Why? It’s gift guide season, baby.

Let’s get something clear: I know I’m publishing this just after Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), but this isn’t about Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), and that’s because Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) are crimes against humanity.

Listen, I’ve got nothing against deals, or people trying to get something for cheap. No, my issue with Black Friday is with the companies themselves

(Side note: anyone who posts on social media mocking people who queue up for discounts on Black Friday are pond scum — those folks are just trying to save some cash. Life’s fucking hard enough as it is without being a dick. How about a long, hard look at yourself before judging anyone else? Knobhead.)

Most organizations either use the… holiday? event? cursed period?… to get rid of old shit filling up their warehouses, or simply create fake discounts by raising the prices or products in the prior weeks and then lowering them again when it’s actually Black Friday.

And because the media sector is cash strapped and struggling to stay afloat, a lot of publications have to play along to some degree. It’s a sad state of affairs.

So no, Black Friday isn’t for me. But the things we see around the same time? The gift guides? Those sweet lists of badass stuff? Print them off, wrap me in them, set me aflame, and push me to Valhalla.

There’s something deeply satisfying about scrolling through lists rammed with an overflowing abundance of Cool Shit™.

Whether it’s board games I hadn’t heard of, inventive music-related gifts, or simply a gamut of bizarro items for under $50, I’ve squandered gallons of precious life force browsing for that next beautiful thing I’m going to splash my cash on.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. These lists are, in the main, labors of love — and it’s why I appreciate them so damn much.

Of course, the reason they’re put together is so sites can make affiliate money from them. Despite that, the actual content, the guides themselves, are created by people who genuinely love the things they’re recommending. And, if they’re anything like me, all they want is for you to experience that same joy they get from their picks.

Personally? There’s little I like more than watching people be enthusiastic about the shit they love — and that’s the core element of any good gift guide.

I’m already excited about 2021.

(P.S. You can read TNW’s gift guide here if you want, but no pressure. This intro isn’t promotional, I just genuinely love lists of awesome stuff)

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